Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau want to keep Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp but they will need "cool head and common sense" to reach a good agreement for every party. The club chief said that they cannot offer the Argentina winger carte blanche but admitting that it "would be stupid" to let the "best player in the history" to leave his boyhood club.
Luis Suarez, Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano have all signed new deals at Barcelona in recent months while president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed last year that the club planned to meet with Messi's father at the beginning of 2017 to convince him to follow in the same footsteps.
Yet, the Argentina international's current contract is set to expire in 2018 and the club want to avoid him starting the summer transfer window with only one year remaining.
Nevertheless, several reports have claimed that the likes of Manchester City are closely monitoring the situation. Messi has once again enjoyed an stunning start to the 2016-2017 campaign, scoring 25 goals in only 22 appearances, including 10 in the Champions League group stage.
El Mundo, for instance, reported in November that an unnamed club had offered Messi's entourage a bonus of €100m (£86.7m, $105m) if he snubbed any new deal at Barcelona and leaves the club in 2018 as a free agent. Other reports claimed that Chinese outfit Hebei China Fortune had also approached Messi with a £80m-a-year salary offer to become the next major star to move the Far East.
Barcelona Ceo Oscar Grau has confirmed that the club expect Messi to sign a new deal at the Nou Camp instead, but suggested that they cannot afford to give him a blank cheque.
"As I always say we have to analyse (Messi's renewal) with cool head," the club CEO said, as quoted by AS. "Barcelona cannot overpass more than 70 % (of the budget) in wages. Our desire and what we want is for the best player in the history to stay. Messi, like Iniesta, Pique and all the players raised at the academy should retired at Barcelona. We have time, he has a year and a half left in his contract and we will address (the new deal) as the president already said. There is a firm wish for Messi to stay but we have to do it with common sense. When you have the best player at home it would be stupid for us to let him go."